8 ways to cool your dog down in hot weather!

How To Cool Down Your Dog: Dog Overheating Symptoms and What to Do

Whether you’re heading to the beach, firing up the barbecue or just having a snooze in the garden, lots of us like soaking up the sun when the weather gets warmer. However, not all of us enjoy the hot weather. Dogs can’t cool themselves down as quickly as humans, so when the temperature starts to rise it can become very uncomfortable or even dangerous for our furry friends. If you’re worried about keeping your dog safe in the sun, then follow our guide below.

Do dogs overheat easily?

While many believe that dogs aren’t able to sweat, they actually can. Compared to humans however, dogs have far fewer sweat glands and mainly sweat through their paw pads where there is no fur. In humans, our sweat helps us regulate our body temperature when it rises, but dogs just aren’t able to do this as efficiently as we are and are more likely to overheat easily.

Hot dog panting in Sun

Instead, panting plays a much bigger role in cooling your dog down when they’re overheating. Panting helps evaporate moisture from their tongue, nostrils, and control their temperature.

It’s important to note though, that there is a difference as to whether your dog is overheating or whether they’re suffering from the effects of heat stroke. If your dog is overheating, then the key signs you need to look out for are:

Dog overheating symptoms

  • Body temperature above 39 °C
  • Heavy panting
  • Heavy breathing
  • Drooling
  • Increased heart rate
  • Lethargy
  • Gums appear red
  • Agitated
  • Slower response time
  • Looking for colder spots
  • Vomiting
  • Collapsing or falling

If your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms, then it’s possible that they are suffering from heatstroke:

Dog heatstroke symptoms

  • Body temperature above 41 °C
  • Convulsions
  • Gums appear blue or very red
  • Eyes are glazed over
  • Very fast heart rate
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Losing consciousness
  • Collapsing or falling

Heatstroke in dogs is deadly. If you suspect that your dog has heatstroke, then you need to contact your vet as soon as possible.

How can I cool my dog quickly?

If you’re worried that your dog is suffering from the heat or struggling with the hot weather, then there are a number of ways that you can quickly cool them down.

8 tricks to cool down your dog in hot weather

1. Find your dog a cool spot to rest

Black Labrador lying down on cold tiles in kitchen

Cold spots like tiles, concrete floors or even patches of shaded grass will help to cool your dog down. When your dog lies on a cold surface, that surface will help regulate their body temperature.

2. Let your dog have a drink in the shade

Labrador drinking water from bottle

Just like humans, dogs can quickly become dehydrated in the hot weather. That’s why it’s important that your dog drinks some cool water and hydrates as quickly as possible. If you’re concerned that your dog is too hot, then you need to get them to a shady place and let them have a drink as soon as possible. If you’re out on a walk, then always carry some water with you just in case. It’s important though that you don’t force your dog to drink. A thirsty dog will drink if they need to, and forcing your dog to drink their water can make them choke.

3. Give your dog freezable dog toys

If your dog loves toys and treats (and let’s face it, which dog doesn’t?) then dog toys that can go in your freezer might just be what you need to cool your dog down. You can either fill up these toys with food and freeze them or you can buy chilly chew toys which will cool your dog down as they chomp.

4. Give your dog ice cubes

Shiba Inu dog eating ice

You can even give your dog some ice cubes to chew and lick or pop them into your dog’s water bowl. The ice will help cool your dog down, but there’s a chance that the ice shards can damage your dog’s teeth, so keep an eye on how they’re chewing.

5. Spray your dog with cold water

Dog playing in Sun with sprinkler

Water is a great way to cool your dog down quickly. When your dog is hot, it’s important that they’re able to drink lots of cold water, which rehydrates them and helps cool their bodies down. It’s also worth spraying your dog’s body with some cold water. Spraying your dog with cold water can help to quickly lower their body temperature and cool them down in hot weather. If you live in a flat or don’t have access to a garden, something as simple as a spray bottle will do, but if your have a garden, you could use a hose to water them down – if your dog likes it!

6. Go for a swim

Dachshund swimming in lake

Another way to quickly cool your dog down and give them a quick soak is to go for a swim. Your dog’s paws can easily pop a children’s paddling pool, so instead you can buy them their own foldable dog pool to help cool them down in the summer months. Some dog breeds such as Spaniels, Retrievers and Setters love the water, so you can even take them for a dip in a local stream if your dog likes swimming. Be careful of blue-green algae in any body of water though, as this can be incredibly dangerous to dogs.

7. Cool your dog with a damp towel

Wetting a towel in water and placing it around your dog is another great way of keeping them cool in the hot weather. Make sure that the water isn’t too cold, to avoid shocking them and don’t leave the towel on your dog for too long. Once the towel starts to warm up, it won’t continue to cool your dog down and can actually make them even warmer.

8. Stay inside

Of course, the easiest way to beat the heat is to just stay inside where it’s cooler. Keeping your dog out of the sun is the best way to keep them cool and you can monitor how they’re coping in the heat when you’re sat nearby. Remember, no dog will suffer from missing a daily walk, but a walk when it’s too warm can really harm your dog.